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Romulus man indicted on federal mail fraud charges connected to US Coast Guard course

A 69-year-old Romulus man is facing two counts of mail fraud, which are federal charges, according to U.S. Attorney James Kennedy Jr.

He announced that a federal grand jury had returned an indictment charging Dennis Daniels, 69, of Romulus with two counts of mail fraud.

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He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who is handling the case, said that in January and February of last year, Daniels taught an approved U.S. Coast Guard course for an Operator Uninspected Passenger Vessel license, with a Masters upgrade. Once obtained, this license allows the individual to operate an ininspected vessel of up to six passengers, such as a fishing charter, and inspected vessel with more than six passengers – like a ferry.

Daniels was required to to teach for 80 hours. However, he only taught for 51 hours, and engaged in conduct not in compliance with USCG regulations, according to prosecutors.

Following investigation it was determined that all 24 students in the course failed a chart-plotting test, and four of the students also failed the maritime rules of the road test.

Students are required successfully to pass those tests in order to obtain a course completion certificate, a prerequisite to applying for a Merchant Marine Credential issued by the USCG. Despite failing the tests, Daniels issued course completion certificates to his students.

The indictment is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, under the direction of Buffalo, NY, Resident Agent-in-Charge Cindy C. Buckley, and Detroit, MI, Resident Agent-in-Charge Edward L. Songer; the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector-in-Charge Joseph W. Cronin of the Boston Division; and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Jonathan D. Larsen, Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Field Office.